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Strip for 3/8/2002  
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I'm feeling better today. This strip is just sorta silly (yet there's pain there, true). I really like the thinking Kip pose in the last panel. Perhaps I am a magnet for girls who think they might be ready to date... but, of course, aren't.

Part III: Goodness and Patience Will Be Rewarded

Twin Girl saved me from throwing myself onto some cold Lake Michigan rocks. I forgot to mention this, which is funny, because it was that night that really started changing my view of her. Before, she was fun to get to know and all. This one particular night, I was in a hole. I'd been at an improv rehearsal that had gone badly, and I felt like I was nothing to these people who I'd spent two years trusting. I went home and Twin Girl IM'ed me. I asked her to go for a walk with me. We went to the lake and sat and talked for hours. And when I went home that night, I felt so cared for. When she was having a bit of a breakdown later that week, I offered to again take her on a walk. She said, OK, but no talking. I met her at her dorm and we went through the frat quads to the lakefill. Silence. I wanted to offer her the same solace she'd given me, but without my words, what tools did I have? A one dimpled smile? Soulful looks? We sat farther north on the lake that afternoon and she started to cry. She said perhaps it'd be better to be by herself. I told her I respected that, gave her a hug, and walked home, feeling like I'd failed an important test.

Realizing that I was the other guy, yet not wanting to be the dishonorable other guy, I set many constraints on myself. Twin Girl and I would hug but we kept reins on our lips.

This wasn't made any easier by my living situation at the time. My random roommate was definitely making the most of his last quarter in school by hooking up with girls he'd always wanted, but never asked. Now he was asking and getting enthusiastically answered.

The hardest night to handle was a few days before she left. We were sitting in two separate chairs, her in my Pöang recliner and me in the roommate's affectionately titled monstrosity, Greenie. Greenie came from a time when men were men and chairs were chairs. It was heavy and ugly, but got the job done, supporting both almost full recline and straight backed upright postures with ease. Anyway, this was when my apartment was freezing cold and the two of us sat talking, shivering. I held her hands in mine, at first to ward off frostbite, and then to give me something to hold onto as I stared at her face.

"If you could do anything right now, what would it be?" she asked.

Feeling like I should defuse the situation while preserving its momenthood, I said, "I'm pretty happy with the hand I'm holding."

"Wrong answer!" Rick yelled later, as I tried to relate how much the experience of being able to hold her hand had burrowed into my head, turning a brain that should have been concentrating on parallel computing into a gopher city. "She wanted you to kiss her!"

But that, that would have been wrong. Nevermind the moral complications of the handholding. But in today's era, handholding is so innocent, right? I guess it is, until you take into account the effect of that contact on the owners of the hands.

I took her to the airport when she left and gave her a mix cd to listen to on the flight ("With no hidden messages! It's just music I like, really!"). And she kissed me on the cheek as she left. That's innocent too, right? Right?

Winter Break was my glimpse at a long distance relationship. Loads of emails and IM sessions (yay for laptops and wireless connections). Phone calls, in the middle of the night for me, midnight for her. And then when her guy came back from his vacation, nothing. I expected it, but it was hard to go cold turkey. I stalked around the house, waiting for news that it was over and a different "it" would be soon beginning.

How did I make it through Winter Break? Putting faith in my resolve in not kissing her, in not giving in to the temptation. That waiting would be rewarded. I didn't even talk about it here, as you can see in the blurb from 12/19. These were the tests I set for myself. And over Winter Break, I passed them.


Song for today's strip: Erasure's When I Needed You. This used to be the song I went to when I was depressed in middle school.